"If it were a matter of interacting with gas clouds, as is the current theory, each cloud should have a different chemical makeup, and so cause the star to operate differently. So why do all of them act in exactly the same way?"
Photons, electrons, atoms and molecules fired at a double slit all perform in the same way - as a wave. The interference pattern on the back plate is the same no matter which version of material you use. Behind the link on this subject you'll find the question mooted, are these particles making a conscious decision? And thus the eyebrow rises - could this phenomenon correlate, in its strange uniformity, with the findings behind Parenago's Discontinuity? Our minds are fragile, subject to forces of which we know nothing at all. Many are driven to despair and even suicide by seemingly irrational views of their world, filled with hopelessness and loneliness, torment and distress. Could this not, given the syntax of language adopted for all English purposes, lend itself to contention for Dark Matter (closely aligned to, if not in superposition with, Dark Energy)?
"The reality we can put into words is never reality itself." Werner Heisenberg
“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.” Erwin Schroedinger
"Whence come I and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for every one of us. Science has no answer to it." Max Planck
"The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won't get us very far." Neils Bohr
"I am convinced that theoretical physics is actual philosophy. It has revolutionized fundamental concepts, e.g., about space and time (relativity), about causality (quantum theory), and about substance and matter (atomistics), and it has taught us new methods of thinking (complementarity) which are applicable far beyond physics." Max Born
"Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations." Albert Einstein
Einstein and the other famous names of the 1930s 'ground-break' era had a lot more to say on matters esoteric than there is room for quoting here. They harboured a healthy respect for depths of reason beyond the known, the states and spaces where science has no answers, the fields of existence hinted at and partially unveiled by quantum mechanics. Do you imagine I came to write these blogs through a life-long fascination for physics? Couldn't be further from the truth. Were I to tell the story, you would not believe me, and were I to hint at it, you could discard all or any tenuous threads of reason to consider that the concepts within them matter at all. But they do - as the consensus above would have it. For these matters are deep, and their colour is dark, unless there are photons or positrons and annihilation, in which case the destructive creational process may be related to our states of mind, and if so, we can barter with the Universe for our energetic rations, and create environments for ourselves in which those elements we need for mental welfare may exist.